I wanted to write you because of your regular posts on Blizzard and WoW are part of the reason I started playing WoW a week or so ago. Well, that and a familiarity with the world through the RTS games. Okay, and the other 90% probably had to do with the battle chest and two expansions being on sale in the blizzard store for $30 combined, but I digress.
I did actually play pre-TBC WoW years ago through a friend’s free month pass. I played for about 3 weeks until I hit a wall. I’m a solo player, and I started getting my ass kicked to the point where I couldn’t figure out how to solo anymore, and I had no interest in joining a guild or a regular party of players to see most of the content, especially the endgame and dungeons. I’d heard about guild drama and players scheduling their lives around the game (and getting blowback when they couldn’t show up), and waiting around for a party seemed like a waste of play-time, so I didn’t subscribe.
Fast forward to now, I’m a Dwarf Hunter in my mid 50s (they tell you on the select screen it’s good for soloing!) and loving most of the game. The interface seems much more friendlier to jump into than what I remember. The exploration, lore and achievements in the questing experience are so much fun. I love the feeling of entering a new town or camp and solving everyone’s problems for them, even if it does end up being the same two or three redressed quests over and over again. Best of all, no reliance on other players if I don’t want to. In a lot of ways, it’s giving me the numbers based open-world RPG that I’ve really struggled to find elsewhere. DQ9 and Pokemon kind of do it but both have their flaws (rare drop rates for the former, one save file for the latter) and I’m hoping Xenoblade will do it when I get around to playing it. I even like experimenting with skill combinations and rotations on my own rather than looking them up the effective ones.
But the thing I like most and the big reason why I’m soloing what’s supposed to be a mulitplayer game is that it’s a persistent but also replayable world that has been updated and added-on to for years, and should continue to do be added on to for more years to come. You just don’t get that on console RPGs and have to rely on an inconsistent modding community for a PC game.
As for the things I don’t like, there’s a big one that at first looked like it was going to be a good thing. The Dungeon Finder at first seemed like a great little tool that was made for someone like me. One run, I get my achievement and I get to see what I otherwise would’ve missed. Unfortunately, the human element regularly gets in the way of what would otherwise be a decent play. Players gogogogogo, so there’s no time to read quests and lore beforehand to get a feel for what you’re doing in-world. It just ends up feeling like more of a grind than a fetch quest does, you’re just clicking buttons and killing things just because everyone else is doing the same. Nevermind if you wipe (of course tanking quality is wildly inconsistent when you’re using a randomizer) or a trigger fails to fire and the boss door doesn’t open or something. Or as has been commonly happening in the higher level dungeons, the party will skip quests completely because they’re out of the way. I’ll be at my seventh or eight attempt to complete Lower Blackrock Spire the next time I try it. I’m OCDing hard on finishing the classic dungeon achievement or I would’ve quit doing them all together. I may just skip dungeons in the expansions.
I have a hardcore raiding friend who insists that I have to learn how to play like a pro (he also insists that I’m playing the game wrong and missing the point by soloing) or I won’t last even in Raid Finder, and that kind of thing nearly kills my interest in even trying it all together. I’ve seen a bit of that attitude in dungeon crawling so far, but not a lot. I’m iffy about raids in general because of dungeons so far, but I will at least try one just to try it. I wish there was some kind of solo easy-mode for dungeons and maybe raids, and not just a “return when you’re max level” kind of thing. I want to play them for the world and the lore, not for the multiplayer experience.
It seems like a waste of time and money to have to find a class trainer to buy new abilitiess from, especially once they start disappearing from the places you visit after the early game/trial period, but I do understand that wasting players time to get that sweet sweet subscription money is part of the deal. I’m also hoping achievements become mergeable and account-based like they’ve been saying will be coming with Pandas, so I can start a horde character and get the other half of what I’d like to accomplish once I’m finished with my Dwarf.
This is getting too long, so I’ll finish up here. Thanks for reading and thanks for providing great reads.
Right before Cataclysm came out, I did what you did and bought a WoW sale where you could get every expansion for like $5 or $10. There is a significant amount of content to keep one busy for a while as WoW is nearing eight years old. Just do what you want and have fun.
I am in the MoP Beta. Achievements are definitely account based as are mounts and pets. Since you say you enjoy roaming the world and doing things solo, you will likely enjoy MoP as the expansion seems focused on getting people out into the world again. Things like Pet Battles are proving to be surprisingly popular (where pets are around the world, some only appearing at certain conditions like when it is raining).
People are running through the dungeons because to them the content is very old. Vanilla dungeons came out when the DS and PSP did. WoW behavior follows cycles so you might be seeing some odd behavior with low population due to being in between expansions. Once MoP release date comes out, more people will trickle in. Once expansion comes out, you might have server queues to get in (and the dungeons will be filled with Panda players). You’re at the calm before the storm.
One mistake I did when I started playing again was that I forgot about glyphs (they were added in Wrath). If you go to your talents, there is a tab underneath. You can buy glyphs off the Auction House (or make them yourself if you’re doing inscription). They will provide nice boosts to your character.
Don’t rule out the Endgame content. WoW is interesting because you can get some experiences from WoW that you cannot get from any other game (aside from another MMORPG which are all WoW-clones anyway). Raiding is definitely a unique experience only offered by WoW. And not all raiding groups are the same.
I’ve been both restarting WoW like you are and become a raid leader. I’ve seen both sides of the coin. Before, the behavior of raiding guilds didn’t make sense to me. Apply? Why? That’s what you do for jobs, not for a video game. And they have these ‘rules’ which seem nauseating.
Let me tell you that all the ‘rules’ and ‘applications’ these raiding guilds have is not about you. They are in place to protect the raid group. Think of it like a firewall against viruses. A major part of the raid leader’s job is to protect the raiders who do show up and perform. Remember, raiding is nine (or twenty four) other people’s nights as well. The idea is to have everyone’s night be enjoyable. This is why raid groups filter.
The dirty secret is that the raiding guilds don’t really care about applications and all that. They are nothing more than idiot tests. Someone who is unwilling to devote two minutes to follow instructions in a form is demonstrating they cannot devote an hour or two to follow instructions in a raid instance. The application and ‘rules’ isn’t about getting people as it is about filtering out people incompatible with the raid group.
For most raiding guilds, the ‘rules’ are actually very common sense stuff. For example, something like ‘No PvP gear for raiding’ sounds “harsh” but only an idiot would raid with PvP gear. It is like making a rule that says ‘Tanks must wear plate.’ Of course, they have to wear plate. They can’t tank wearing CLOTH GEAR obviously.
My guild recruits mostly through PUGging. This way, we can already see how the player behaves and perform in the raid. You will see raid groups looking for pugs all the time in trade chat. If you ever decide to try it out, make sure you…
-Have ventrilo. (So the raid leader can coordinate.)
-Are optimized with your gar. (You have the best gear you can get from dungeons. The gear is all gemmed and enchanted. On the armory page at the WoW website, on the advanced tab, it will do a character audit and see if you are missing anything. Most groups screen PUGs by checking their armory page.)
-Have a grasp of the boss mechanics by looking at some videos online. You don’t want to be the one holding the group back. Most of these ‘mechanics’ won’t resort to much more than ‘stand here’ and ‘attack that’.
Do what you want. But have an open mind about the End Game stuff. You’re paying for the game, you might as well experience everything it has to offer. Raiding (or even Rated PvP Battlegrounds) is one of the most interesting and unique experiences you’ll have in a video game. There is something extremely fun about sharing the experience with a dozen other people.
Also, consider rolling a tank or healer as well. Tanking or healing allows one to experience the content in a different way.
And in your honor, here are some WoW Crendor parodies: